Magnesia’s association with Turkey goes back a
long way. The common name for magnesium oxide (MgO), magnesia
was also the name of at least one ancient Greek city in Turkey,
located in the western region of Ionia, after the
locally-abundant, magnesium-containing geology.
Magnesite deposits large and rich enough to mine
economically to produce commercial-quality products only occur
in certain parts of the world. Turkey’s favourable
geology, with its ophiolite belts, extensive ultramafic rocks
and widespread sedimentary basins, mean it has numerous high
grade magnesite deposits occurring across the country.
The most important deposits are located in Eskişehir,
Kütahya and Konya, which all contain vein type,
cryptocrystalline magnesite. Others exist in Ankara,
Balıkesir, Bilecik, Bursa, and Erzincan, with sedimentary
deposits in Çankırı and Denizli.
According to the General Directorate of Mineral Research and
Exploration (MTA) of Turkey, exploration for magnesite in the
country first started in 1808 in the city of Sakarya by a
company called France Elektore Coulant.
However, the first magnesite mining activities did not begin
until 1929 and the industry has continued to grow since then.
Production of magnesia products commenced around the 1940s and
the US Geological Survey’s (USGS) 2014 Mineral
Yearbook for magnesium compounds – the latest year for
which data is available – shows that Turkey was the
second largest producer of magnesite in the world, at 2.7m
tonnes in 2014, after China, which produced 20.5m tonnes of the
mineral that year (see table).
Below are short summaries of some of the companies that
produce magnesite and magnesia in Turkey.
Old as the hills: Magnesite mining in
Turkey has a long history, but production
of commercial magnesia products in the country only
began in the 1940s and
has since grown into a major industry.
Kütahya Manyezit Sanayi AŞ
Kümaş was established in 1972 as a public
incorporated company. It started by mining magnesite and began
producing DBM for the first time in 1976. In 1990, the company
started making end products like refractory bricks for numerous
industries by using its own raw materials. In 1997,
Kümaş invested in ore beneficiation and separation
technology to increase the life of its mines. In 2011, it
bought Bommag Manyezit’s Tavşanlı
(Kütahya) mine and associated magnesia plant. In May 2014,
the company built an additional two furnaces with a combined
18,000 tpa capacity for producing FM, taking its total capacity
for this product to 40,000 tpa. In 2012, Kümaş was
bought by by Gozde Private Equity (Yıldiz Holding) &
Today, the company has magnesite mines in Eskişehir,
Kütahya and Bilecik, with total reserves of 127m tonnes of
high quality magnesite. It is currently Turkey’s
largest DBM producer, with 300,000 tpa capacity, up from
180,000 tpa in 1997. Kümaş also produces and sells
CCM and FM, both locally and to export markets.
World magnesite production by country
Rest of the world
(US data withheld)
Source: USGS 2014 Mineral
Akdeniz Mineral Kaynakları AŞ
Akdeniz Mineral is a subsidiary of Greece-based Grecian
Magnesite SA, which owns around 90% of the shares in the
Turkish high purity CCM producer. Akdeniz was established in
1993 as a raw magnesite producer and currently mines around
300,000 tpa. In 2004, the company purchased Comag Continental
Madencilik AŞ's licences and beneficiation/calcination
facilities (Kümbet and Erenköy) in Eskişehir,
around three hours southeast of Istanbul, from where it sources
100% of its raw materials. In 2013, the company installed a new
rotary kiln, which doubled its CCM production capacity to
Akdeniz produces variety of CCM products with MgO contents
ranging from 88% to 98% to meet the needs of different
industries, from metallurgy to cement and agriculture. The
company’s deposits consist of three main
concessions totalling 4,238 ha (42.38km2) in the
Eskişehir area, which the company claim hold significant
reserves, although precise figures are not available. It has a
pre-beneficiation facility in Aktepe and a main beneficiation
facility in Erenköy. Grecian Magnesite has an R&D
centre in Greece, where the two companies collaborate on new
products and applications. Akdeniz’s calcination
facility, with two shaft kilns and one rotary kiln, is located
in Kümbet. Although it also serves the local market,
around 75% of its total volumes are exported.
Konya Selçuklu Krom Magnezİt Tuğla
Konya was established in 1966 by government-owned
Sümerbank and started its production in 1969 as
Turkey’s first refractories manufacturer. After
two unsuccessful privatisation attempts, in 1998, Konya was
finally privatised and sold to holding company, Özkaymak
Şirketler Grubu. The company mines its own magnesite and
although its exact resources are unknown, Konya’s
deposits are believed to contain around 9m tonnes proven and
40m tonnes probable magnesite reserves. The company operates a
rotary kiln with the capacity to produce 40,000 tpa CCM, which
it makes alongside a range of refractory products for the
cement, steel, lime and glass industries.
producers have invested in updating their manufacturing
technology to compete with some of the best quality
refractory materials on the global market
(source: MAŞ (RHI)).
Magnesit Anonim Sirketi (MAŞ)
MAŞ was set up in 1963 by the Austrian company,
Veitscher Magnesit. Today, it is controlled by
Austria-headquartered RHI Group, which merged with Veitscher
Magnesit in 1993. MAŞ produces refractories and DBM in two
rotary and three vertical kilns at its Dutluca facility using
its own magnesite from mines around Eskişehir and
additional magnesite from other producers, for a total volume
of 530,000 tpa. Its DBM capacity is 265,000 tpa and the company
produces five different types of DBM for local and
international customers in different industries.
In 2013, MAŞ announced its intention to buy Cihan
Group’s magnesite mining rights in Erzurum,
northeast Turkey, along with Cihan’s mothballed
60,000 tpa DBM facility, for €36m ($48.2m*). However, in
September 2014, RHI said it would not pursue the deal as the
seller had failed to meet all of MAŞ’s
contractual conditions for the sale.
Trabzon Mining and Metal Corp.
Trabzon was established in 1998 by Cihan Group Holding Co.,
under its mining and metals arm. Up until 2007, the company
performed feasibility studies on its concessions in the Erzurum
area and secured 22 chromite and magnesite sites. Cihan
reportedly invested around $70m in constructing chrome and
magnesite processing facilities, with a capacity of 100,000 tpa
The company announced it would commence DBM production in
December 2010, but according to local media reports at the
time, the facility was shut down in 2012. Following the failure
of the deal with MAS, in September 2015 Cihan Mining and
Türkmag Mining announced that they had applied to the
Turkish authorities to postpone bankruptcy for one
Production and reserve numbers for Türkmag are unknown,
but the region in which its mining concessions are located are
thought to contain 10-15m tonnes magnesite.
Construction in Turkey is booming, with
new urban commercial and residential developments in
cities like Istanbul generating more domestic demand
for steel, cement and glass, which require refractory
materials to produce.
The company started as a contractor for
MAŞ’s Kızılelma magnesite mine in
1988. In 1994, it bought licences to operate
Kızılelma from MAŞ and started producing raw
magnesite. It renovated the facilities and added furhter
magnesite and chrome sites to its portfolio in 1997. In 2000,
Yeni started exporting processed magnesite. Today, the company
produces 200,000 tpa raw magnesite and 10,000 tpa processed
magnesite and has 3m tonnes proven magnesite reserves.
Established in 1994, Yildiz owns a magnesite mine in
Eskişehir-Tepebaşı and produces fine grained
processed magnesite, which it supplies mainly to MAŞ, as
well as to other local and international customers.
Şetat Madencilik Gıda Sanayi ve Ticaret
Şetat Madencilik was established in 1996 under the
Şetat Holding Co., owned by a family private wealth office
in Turkey. The company started its business by producing and
exporting chrome and olivine before branching into magnesite in
2007, mined in the Bursa-Orhaneli area. According to company
data, Şetat Madencilik’s concessions contain
more than 650,000 tonnes total magnesite reserves.
Demireller Madencilik was founded in 2001, when it started
producing bauxite from 10 licences in Mersin and Ayranci, in
southern Turkey. In 2006, the company began producing magnesite
in the Konya-Ereğli mine. At present, Demireller only
produces raw magnesite, but since 2011, it has also operated a
fully-equipped mining laboratory for iron and industrial
Madkim Maden Kimya Ltd Şti
Formed in 1984, Madkim began producing and exporting raw
magnesite from the Kütahya-Tavşanlı and
Bursa-Harmancık mines in 1988. The company has mined
various other minerals including iron, coal, kaolinite,
feldspar, chalcedony and quartzite in the past, but today
produces only chromite, magnesite, limestone and sepiolite. The
company has limited processing (physical separation) capacity
for raw magnesite, while further crushing and milling
are performed according to customer requirements.
There are three other raw magnesite producing companies of
note in Turkey, however there is little information available
about their operations.
These companies are: Özemiroğlu Madencilik
(Bursa-Kemalpaşa mine); Cengiz Maden
(Eskişehir/Kütahya mines) and Dost Madencilik.
Types and uses of magnesia
Although it occurs naturally in the form of periclase and
can be extracted from other magnesium-containing sources such
as brines, seawater and the mineral brucite, the vast majority
of commercially used magnesia is produced from calcination of
magnesite (magnesium carbonate, MgCO3) or magnesium
hydroxide. There are three major types of magnesia that make up
the bulk of the material’s global market. These
are caustic calcined magnesia (CCM), deadburned magnesia (DBM)
and fused magnesia (FM).
CCM, which has 82-90% MgO content, is a chemically reactive
material produced by the calcination of magnesite at
temperatures between 700˚C and 1,100˚C, usually in
vertical shaft kilns or horizontal rotary kilns.
DBM, or refractory magnesia, has 90-96% MgO content, is
produced by heating magnesite at temperatures between 1,450 and
2,000˚C and is a high density, granular and nonreactive
FM, which usually has an MgO content of 96-99%, is a highly
stable, resistant and dense high-end product obtained by firing
high grade magnesite ore or CCM or DBM in electric arc furnaces
at temperatures above 2,800˚C.
These different types of magnesia have a range of
applications. CCM has variety of uses, from water treatment to
animal feed, fertilisers, construction, chemicals,
pharmaceuticals and metallurgy. Due to their refractory and
nonreactive nature, DBM and FM are used to produce refractory
products, mainly for use in the steel
industry, as well as in cement and glass manufacturing. The
high purity, chemical stability and resistance of FM also makes
it suitable for some niche applications in nuclear reactors and
Magnesite is a natural magnesium carbonate
(MgCO3) mineral with a theoretical MgO content of
Magnesite mineralisation occurs by alteration of magnesium
silicate minerals in ultramafic rocks of ophiolites, by
metasomatism of dolomitic rocks, or by deposition in
Magnesite deposits in altered dolomitic rocks form as
crystalline (macrocrystalline), lenticular or bedded masses.
Magnesite deposits in ultramafic rocks are usually
cryptocrystalline (microcrystalline) and occur in the form of
veins, lenses, nodules, stockworks and irregular shaped bodies.
Magnesites of sedimentary origin are generally
cryptocrystalline and are in the form of nodules, lenses and
beds. Macrocrystalline magnesite may have higher calcium (Ca)
and iron (Fe) impurities compared to cryptocrystalline
Positive and negative influences on magnesia
Magnesia has the advantage of having multiple fields of
consumption, but the refractories industry continues to be the
largest end market for Turkish magnesia and magnesite markets.
Refractories for steel is the biggest consuming sector,
followed by cement and glass, and China’s steel
industry remains the principal driver of demand trends.
There have been a number of recent industry developments
that may affect the magnesia and magnesite markets in different
ways, in the short or long run.
• Chinese government implementing policies to shut down
less efficient facilities and force more environmentally-led
practices in the mining, cement, glass and steel industries in
order to decrease emissions, which could cause magnesia prices
to rise and make Chinese magnesia less competitive;
• Demand for CCM in water treatment, agriculture as
animal feed and fertilisers, and in other markets is expected
• Slower than expected growth in the steel industry and
• China setting a goal to reduce consumption of
magnesia per unit of steel produced;
• Shifting preference by end users in favour of higher
quality refractory materials, resulting in longer product life,
thus reducing magnesia consumption.
Despite the challenges facing the global magnesia industry,
it is expected that the Turkish magnesia market will weather
the storm, owing to its abundant and high quality resources and
relatively low mining costs. However, Turkish companies have
been urged to invest in new technology to produce more valuable
products, rather than in capacity expansions.
*Conversion made August 2013